Rosław Szaybo, Polish painter, photographer and artist, has died at 85 years old. Szaybo was the creative force behind more than 2,000 album covers, including several for NWOBHM pioneers Judas Priest, whose iconic logo he also designed. His talents reached far beyond the scope of rock and focused mainly on classical music, but he managed to squeeze in covers for Elton John, Roy Orbison, Santana, Janis Joplin, the Clash and others in his lengthy, prestigious career. Fun tidbit: It's his hand that appears gripping the massive razor blade on the cover of Priest's British Steel.
"It's actually the art director, Rosław Szaybo's hand," photographer Bob Elsdale — and Szaybo's collaborator on the British Steel cover — told Revolver in a 2010 interview. "We made an oversized razor blade by having the album title and the Priest logo screen-printed on a cut-out piece of aluminum. There was no Photoshop in those days, so everything was shot for real."
Priest memorialized the artist after hearing of his passing. "Our memories of Rosław Szaybo are strong and he will always be remembered for his now legendary covers he created for Judas Priest as well as the Priest logo," the band said in a joint statement posted to social media earlier today, May 22nd. "Our thoughts and condolences are with his family - love to Ros."
Just last year, Szaybo was awarded the "Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artisgranted" by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, his second honor from the organization with his first being a silver in 2013. He was a 1961 graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and moved to the U.K. a few years later to become the chief artistic director at CBS Records.
Our memories of Roslaw Szaybo are strong and he will always be remembered for his now legendary covers he created for Judas Priest as well as the Priest logo - our thoughts and condolences are with his family - love to Ros— Judas Priest (@judaspriest) May 22, 2019
With many thanks
Judas Priest pic.twitter.com/ZPzTWvtfXn